8 Best Dog Life Jackets – Floatation For Furry Friends

Last Updated on

*This article may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases.

Sailing, kayaking or just walking along the shore are fun activities for the whole family, but what about the four-legged members? Anyone who owns a dog knows that many are strong (and often enthusiastic) swimmers so they’re fine around water, right?

Not always. While most dogs can swim or can be taught to swim, they’ll eventually get tired. If you’re on the boat with Fido for the first time and your dog jumps or falls overboard, it could be a while before you can turn and sail back to the rescue. That could end in tragedy unless you have the appropriate safety gear – a doggie life vest.

The best life jacket for dogs doesn’t have to cost a fortune or be for emergencies either. If you enjoy kayaking and there’s not enough space on your kayak for your dog, there’s another solution. With a life vest for dogs, he can swim along beside you over long distances. Sounds like fun? We think so.

Our 8 Favorite Dog Life Vests

 ProductTypeSizesColors
best-dog-life-jacketRuffwear Float CoatPremium63
best-life-vest-for-dogsEzyDog DFDEconomy53
cheap-dog-life-vestPaws AboardPremium68
life-jacket-small-dogsVivaglory SportsEconomy38
neoprene-dog-life-jacketOutward HoundEconomy52
dog-life-jacket-reviewsVivagloryEconomy59
large-dog-life-jacketKurgo Surf N' TurfPremium51
dog-flotation-deviceQueenmoreEconomy52

Dog Life Jacket Reviews

#1 – Ruffwear Float Coat Canine Life Vest

best-dog-life-jacketWith six sizes available you can get a Ruffwear Float Coat to fit just about any dog, from a dachshund to a German shepherd. Each size has a generous 5-6 inch adjustment range too, so if you buy one for your puppy you won’t have to upgrade a few weeks later.

So what’s it like? In short it’s an excellent piece of gear, very well made to a clever design. The Float Coat is a one-piece unit, so there’s no chance of a playful dog managing to wriggle out of it.

Unlike some of the cheap doggie life jackets, the stitching and quality construction will allow the Float Coat to last for years. It’s no wonder resale value is so high on these.

border collie wearing PFDMore importantly, there are no dangling straps or buckles that could get dangerously snagged. Instead there’s a simple body with the adjustable collar permanently attached.

The straps that adjust the collar tuck neatly away into an attached pocket. The life jacket itself isn’t bulky but still gives lots of support, thanks to its high quality foam. It also lets your dog float in a natural swimming position to minimize fatigue.

Nice detail touches include the sturdy grab handle on the back, which is invaluable for hauling your dog back into the boat – or holding onto and letting him pull your kayak or tube. The Float Coat is currently available in red, blue, and orange.

Ruffwear Float Coat review

All color options feature reflective trim, making them highly visible in any conditions. Even the bright blue color is easily noticeable, unlike other shades of blue that life jacket manufacturers use. This flotation aid is perfect for just about any water-loving dog.

>> Check current price <<

 

#2 – EzyDog Doggie Floatation Device (DFD)

best-life-vest-for-dogsFalling midway between the Float Coat and Paws Aboard in both price and features, the EzyDog is a smart, well put together one-piece design with an external adjustment harness.

It seems to be very comfortable and uses high quality materials; the shell is tough Cordura, while the adjustment straps are neoprene.

Five sizes cover girths from 19 to 48 inches, so this isn’t ideal for very small dogs, but most owners will find one that fits.

The EzyDog DFD is one of the best large dog life jackets available. Like the Float Coat, it also has a strong back grab handle and hi-vis reflective detailing.

Compared to lower cost options, you’ll quickly notice the EzyDog has more floatation material to allow your pup to be in the water longer without getting tired. It’s currently available in a bright yellow or red, and a camo green is available for hunting dogs.

>> Check current price <<

 

#3 – Paws Aboard Neoprene Dog Life Jacket

cheap-dog-life-vestAnother mid-range one piece design, the Paws Aboard looks quite boxy at first glance. That’s deceptive though, because its foam panels are quite soft and flexible.

The collar and belly straps secure with both Velcro and buckles, for security and easy adjustment, and there’s a good grab strap on the back.

Where this jacket shines is on dogs with a large chest; if you have a powerful breed like a boxer or bulldog this will fit them comfortably without restricting their movements.

Available in 8 colors with reflective trim and 6 sizes, you should have no problem finding the perfect dog PFD for extra piece of mind when he or she is out in the water.

>> Check current price <<

 

#4 – Vivaglory Sports Ripstop Dog Life Vest

life-jacket-small-dogsVivaglory’s new sports style dog life jacket comes in three sizes to fit dogs of all shapes and sizes. The clever design includes three fully adjustable quick-connect comfort straps around the neck, chest, and stomach to ensure the perfect fit.

This jacket has been specifically designed to keep your dog in a swimming position in the water without restricting his natural movement.

One of our favorite things about this life vest for dogs is that it comes in a variety of bright, fun colors with reflective trim, so it’s fashionable while providing excellent visibility both in and out of the water.

For your peace of mind, the Vivaglory is made of extremely durable, heavy-duty 600D oxford cloth so you’ll never have to worry about your dog tearing it, no matter where he roams.

We also appreciate the superior buoyancy of this flotation device that ensures your pup will stay afloat even in rough waters. A sturdy rescue handle is also included in the design, which is great for pulling your dog out of the water or lifting him out of the boat.

This jacket has a sports style design that’s nice and roomy around the neck to accommodate a wide variety of activities, including swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, and hunting.

Dog owners love the comfortable, yet secure fit and adjustability of Vivaglory’s dog life vest. Be aware that this jacket seems to run a little small. If your pooch is close to the maximum measurement for one size, the manufacturer recommends going with the next size up to ensure a comfortable fit.

>> Check current price <<

 

#5 – Outward Hound Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket

neoprene-dog-life-jacketThe Outward Hound is a cheaper option than a lot of the competition but almost just as safe, making it one of the best selling dog life jackets of all time.

While it isn’t quite as neat as a premium life jacket such as the Ruffwear above – there are quite a few external straps – it’s available in five sizes and will accommodate almost any size dog, from a 90 pound Labrador right down to the smallest yorkie or pug. It’s one of the best puppy and small dog life jackets around.

The Outward Hound is still a high quality product, with a neat under-chin front float to help your dog keep its head above water even in rough conditions. If the Ruffwear or EzyDog vests are out of your price range, or you have a very small dog, this is a great choice.

If you’re not sure if your dog needs to wear a life jacket or your puppy seems to be doubling in size every other month, it may be a good idea to start with a lower price option such as this one.

>> Check current price <<

 

#6 – Vivaglory Original Ripstop Dog Life Jacket

dog-life-jacket-reviewsVivaglory has another winner on their hands with their original Ripstop dog life vest. It is designed to be extremely durable and includes extra padding for good buoyancy in the water.

This life vest also includes three adjustable straps at the neck, chest, and belly. Each one has a quick release buckle and a heavy-duty Velcro closure to ensure a secure and comfortable fit without restricting your dog’s ability to swim.

Vivaglory makes this floatation device in five sizes to fit almost any dog. It also comes in 9 bright and fun colors. The reflective trim provides extra visibility both in and out of the water. This design also includes a grab handle for safety and convenience, as well as a D-ring for attaching your dog’s leash.

We really love the stretchy underbelly of this PFD for dogs because it conforms to the shape of the dog and ensures a good fit even on breeds with a very deep chest. The padding isn’t bulky, so it’s comfortable enough for your dog to wear for a full day of swimming or boating.

Owners are for the most part quite happy with the fit of this life jacket and found the size chart to be extremely accurate. The reinforced stitching at all stress spots ensures durability, and the elastic strap keepers keep any excess strapping secure and out of the way.

Most dog owners were very happy with the Vivaglory life jacket’s ability to help their dog stay afloat in the water, but some reported that it flipped their pups over on their back. This is likely due to incorrect sizing so measuring carefully and following the size chart is extremely important.

>> Check current price <<

 

#7 – Kurgo Surf N’ Turf Dog Life Jacket

large-dog-life-jacketThe Surf N’ Turf is a multi-purpose jacket with a mid-range price tag. When not being used as a life jacket, the floatation liner may be removed to convert the jacket into a rain coat. It may be also converted into a warm three-season coat when Kurgo’s Dog Coat is inserted into the shell.

Two metal D-rings allow for secure leash connections while two transverse handles provide quick and easy control or extraction in the water.

You never have to worry about losing your dog in this jacket, as the red color is bright and the trim is highly reflective. The Surf n’ Turf lacks floatation material in the belly so that even tired dogs have an easy time staying upright in a current.

Available in five different size ranges with a minimum girth of 14 inches and max girth of 45 inches, Kurgo offers a size chart to help you find the perfect fit for your faithful companion.

Kurgo also offers a lifetime warranty for their products, provided they are bought new from an authorized seller. Between the versatility and fit of this life jacket, you and your dog will be able to enjoy many fun outings together.

>> Check current price <<

 

#8 – Queenmore Doggie Life Vest

dog-flotation-deviceIf you want a life vest for your dog that’s super cute, yet functional, the Queenmore dog floatation vest might be just what you’re looking for.

This dog life jacket comes in gray and features an adorable shark design with a fin that sticks up out of the water when your pooch is swimming. Alternatively, a cute pink fish design is also available.

It comes in five sizes with adjustable straps around the neck, belly, and chest to ensure a perfect fit.

For safety and peace of mind, the manufacturer has included a super-strong, low profile grab handle for emergencies. There’s also a durable D-ring for attaching your pup’s leash. The buoyancy of this vest is superb and lots of reflective accents are included for added visibility.

Our favorite feature of this dog life jacket is the breathable mesh lining on the underbelly to help your dog stay cool and dry fast. This jacket is made of high-quality oxford cloth and polyethylene foam, which we found to be very durable. The quick connect buckles paired with heavy-duty Velcro closures ensure that the jacket won’t come off in the water.

Dog owners love how easy this life vest is to put on and take off of your dog. The adjustability ensures that it doesn’t restrict your dog’s ability to move in the water, and many users love it for teaching puppies how to swim.

Unfortunately, Qeensmore has not included a way to secure any extra strap length, so it just hangs underneath, which could be annoying if there’s a lot of extra strap hanging down. Unless you plan on reselling it or using on another dog, you can simply cut off the extra length.

>> Check current price <<

 

Sizing Information

What Size Life Jacket Does My Dog Need?

Measuring your pup for the correct size dog life jacket is pretty simple (sometimes easier said than done). While some manufacturers suggest measuring length, neck, and girth, if you stick to measuring your dog’s girth (chest), you’re going to be fine 99% of the time.

How Do I Measure My Dog’s Chest Girth?

how to measure for dog life jacketAll you need is some measuring tape (flexible tailor’s tape) as well as a helper. Because you need to measure Fido’s chest as he stands, have your helper hold a treat above your dog’s nose to make him stand.

Then, place one end of the measuring tape near the top of his spine, right behind his shoulders. Take the tape and wrap it around the widest part of the rib cage and back to the top of his spine where the other end of the tape starts. Do this a couple times and take the average measurement.

Dog Life Jacket Sizing Chart (by Brand)

This chart shows each manufacturer’s recommended girth range for each size of their dog life jackets.

BrandXXSXSSMLXL
Ruffwear13-17"17-22"22-27"27-32"32-36"36-42"
EzyDog19-32"21-35"25-39"27-44"30-48"
Paws Aboard10-14"14-18"18-27"18-27"27-38"38"+
Vivaglory Sports18-20"19-23"22-26"26-31"31-40"
Outward Hound11-15"16-20"21-27"28-32"33-44"
Vivaglory Original13-16"16-20"20-24"24-31"31-39"
Kurgo14-20"18-25"24-32"24-34"28-44"
Queenmore17-21"20-25"23-30"26-33"

Dog Girth Sizes (by Breed)

It’s obviously best to measure your dog’s girth for most accurate fitment. But when that’s just not possible, here’s a chart showing the approximate chest girth for many common dog breeds of average size.

Dog SizeApprox. GirthBreeds
Tiny13 to 16 inchesHavenese, Yorkshire Terrier, Silky Terrier, Papillon, Maltese, Toy Poodle, Chihuahua
Extra Small16 to 23 inchesBoston Terrier, French Bulldog, Jack Russell Terrier, Pug Pomeranian, Shih-Tzu, Schnauzer, Dachshund
Small23 to 29 inchesBasenji, Beagle, Puggle, Brittany, Coker Spaniel, Corgi, Irish Terrier, Australian Shepherd
Medium29 to 35 inchesBulldog, Basset Hound, Border Collie, Boxer, Chow, Dalmation, Goldendoodle, Husky, Pit Bull, Poodle, Pointer
Large35 to 39 inchesLabrador, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher
Extra Large39 to 45 inchesSaint Bernard, Great Dane, Mastiff

28 Responses to “8 Best Dog Life Jackets – Floatation For Furry Friends”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Tracy says:

    Which one is best for a Jug, pug cross with Jack Russell he has a big neck.

    • Alex says:

      I’d say the Outward Hound would be a good choice. It’s a lot more flexible which is better for smaller dogs. In your case, the K9 jacket would be way too stiff.

  2. Desiree says:

    I have a beagle/cocker spaniel mix that has a missing right front leg and a highly deformed left front leg. We are trying to find a life vest that will help keep his head afloat….. Any suggestions?

  3. Lisa says:

    Which vest would fit a 55lb Boxer the best???

    • Alex says:

      The Paws Aboard is favorite of Boxer owners since it’s very non-bulky (and inexpensive). The Ruffwear Float Coat also works well for most boxers but the higher quality comes with a higher price.

  4. Rosa says:

    I have a ShihTzu and I’m looking to get him a life jacket since soon he will start his swimming classes. He’s length is 15″, chest 17-18″. What would be the best for him to start?

    • Alex says:

      Really any of the options above would work but if I had to choose, probably the Ruffwear Float Coat or Paws Aboard would be my top choices for a Shih Tzu.

  5. Mary Beth says:

    My son has a 74 pound Golden Retriever, 1 and 1/2 years old. He is in great shape. Which of these vests would likely be the best option for a larger dog? He can swim but is looking to take him kayaking and wants the added protection.

    Thank you!

    • Alex says:

      Both the Ruffwear and Outward Hound are good picks and popular with Goldens and Labs. Even though they are naturally good swimmers, they’ll eventually get tired and realize they can just float there.

  6. Nina Davidson says:

    What choice would be best for 22 lb goldendoodle. Her legs are long but body wt. is low. We are sailing for 3 mos spring 2017. Any suggestions?

  7. Antonia says:

    I have a Pomeranian and terrier mix, weight 16lbs with a girth of 19″. Which one would you recommend?

  8. Angela Kaluzny says:

    I have a 97 lb German Shepherd. Which vest would be the best for him?

  9. america says:

    I have a 4lb chihuahua… what’s the best option for her? i need her to not be able to wiggle out of it or not wiggle paw to neck area where she would clearly be in trouble.

  10. Jan says:

    We have 4 dogs all large. Weighing in at 90, 110, and 2 at 120. What would be best for them.

  11. FYI – the EzyDog one comes in a special version just for very small dogs! You can find it HERE.

  12. Lisa says:

    We have a small female German Short-haired Pointer with a girth 34″, length 22″ and weighs around 40 lbs. She loves to go out with us on our jon boat, which vest would you recommend for her? Thank you!

  13. Anna says:

    I have a Pembroke Corgi that is about 23 lbs.. what would you recommend? Girth is about 19″ and length is about 20″

  14. Bailey says:

    Reading this super late, but I have a french bulldog puppy that will need a life jacket in the next month and a half for our vacation. We are going to Tennessee and will be doing hiking and there will be rivenes and ponds to swim in. She is 12 pounds right now. I’m leaning towards the Float Coat as that’s what most frenchie owners use and love. Right now, she would be an XXS in it, but I’m having trouble buying a $80 life jacket that she is going to grow out of. Does the Ruffwear Float Coat adjust enough to fit her as she grows? Or am I better off buying a cheaper one now and upgrading to the Float Coat when she is closer to full grown? Breeder estimated she will be 18-22 pounds full grown.

  15. Shannon says:

    Hello I am in desperate need of guidance and information for my beautiful 5 year old German Shepard. What life vest would be best for her size and weight? She is taller than most German Shepard. Every time we go swimming she wants to come and play with us but has always been weary of water. Slowly she is making progress but as soon as she can’t touch the ground anymore she freaks out and this breaks my heart. I simply want her to enjoy herself with us she deserves it after all she just a great girl! Any information on which life vest would be best fitted for her and the most comfortable as well would be extremely appreciated! Thank you!

    • Alex says:

      All of the above life jackets would work but I’d recommend the #1 Ruffwear. The large size should be perfect for even taller German Shepards. Even if she’s taller than average, dog life vests are according to chest girth. She will absolutely love it!

  16. Emily says:

    Which one is best for a Alaskan malamute

    • Alex says:

      You really can’t go wrong with the Ruffwear for safety and comfort but the Outward Hound Kygen is a good budget option. Depending on his size (measured by chest girth), you’d want either a medium or large.

  17. Evelyn Murray says:

    Looking for a life jacket for a miniature schnauzer she weighs 12.8 lbs

  18. Sarah says:

    Which life jacket would you recommend for a lab/pitt bull mix? She has a deep, but thin, chest and then narrows out toward the end of her ribs. I bought the Ruffwear K9 (medium) and there is way too much space/gapping on the top posterior end of the life vest but the rest fits perfectly. I’m hoping to find one that fits her body size without having to try out and return too many.

    • Alex says:

      The EzyDog above is popular with pit bull owners since it’s a bit more flexible/form-fitting than the Ruffwear. Or another option would be something like the MTI Underdog which is designed differently to promote easier swimming, but might also fit better in your pup’s case.

Leave a Reply to Anna Cancel reply

*